Two weeks ago, I returned to New Orleans for a whirlwind weekend of running and parades and naps by the bayou and reconnecting with friends. On the last day, I returned to the Bayou and found several new letters and an empty notebook (!). Here is the letter I left in the notebook:
Today marks my one month “move-iversary” to Chicago.
As in, one month ago, I unloaded all of my books and tchotchkes and ate more pizza than my body could handle to call Chicago “home.”
Or whatever “home” really means these days.
I have been thinking a lot about what this means and how to celebrate this– one month of making new friends! One month of attempting to understand public trans! One month of reading and talking and listening and reading some more!
But this has also made me acutely aware of how much work and understanding I still need to do to really–truly– call Chicago home.
Made me realize how much of this city I don’t know, don’t understand.
“So when do you think you’re going to start missing New Orleans?”
We’re in the car, riding on a high of McDonald’s french fries and almost 900 hours of summer camp. The music is pulsing, reverberating, through the bones of the car. Mississippi pine trees go by in a blur, the sun as well. My fingers tap against the window, feet slung up onto the dashboard, head bopping from side to side. I’m humming along absentmindedly to some summer anthem, making up words, picking at my split-ends, dotting mosquito bites with my fingernails.
Sometimes I wish I could take what I’m seeing– the exact curvature of the sky, the faint rippling of the water, the line of light casting shards and shadows– and be able to record it.
Not with a camera or binoculars or a video– but real time.
Exactly through my eyes.
Through the squinting of my pupils.
There are certain moments where I find myself pausing and thinking to myself, “Wow. Wouldn’t it be great if I could remember this moment, right now, for the rest of my life?”
Watching the sun rise over the Mississippi was one of those times.
Sometimes, I am completely gobsmacked by how COOL and AMAZING and AWE-INSPIRING the world can be.
This past fall, I found myself in the midst of marathon training and unable to hold a straight face while watching a movie. A movie, any movie, forced me to tears– I’d wind up, curled on the sofa, bawling.
I wrote this sitting under a sky turning to stars, feet propped up on a porch railing, swaying back and forth in an Adirondack chair, smack dab in the middle of nowhere, Georgia.
Here is the typed out version of the letter, which will hopefully be more legible than my IPA-fueled scrawl.
“OHMYGOD IT’S JUMPING OUT OF THE WATER!!” my friend says, shrieking and jumping and spinning in a burst, “OHMYGOD IT’S THE SEVENTH GATOR!!!!”
Where is your place?
Not the place you go to when you get in a car and drive to work or where you end up at the end of the day or where you wake up in the morning– but your place— where you go to feel like the fullest and the best version of yourself.
WHERE: Live Oak Tree on the Edge of the Lake/Golf Course, Audubon Park
WHEN: 7-something AM, Central Time
Let me tell you a story–
the very first time I spotted you, I was 20 years-old and riding the streetcar from one end of St. Charles to the other. I saw an arcing entrance, palm trees, a massing of Spanish moss, and legit sprinted off the streetcar shrieking,
“YOU GUYS, THIS IS THE PARK!”